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Google in-house AFD Goes Away – Monetization of TRAFFIC at GOOG more ALIVE than Ever!

Google in-house AFD Goes Away – Monetization of TRAFFIC at GOOG more ALIVE than Ever!

GoogWelp, its official:
Google has shut down its in-house Domain channel. AFD direct through Google is gone!~ Before the handwringing outsiders and the misinformed begin to spout inaccuracies like “domain traffic is dead!” or “it’s a Facebook and Twitter world so abandon your names you delusional old-timers!”,  let me take this opportunity to tell you that domain name traffic has never been more important or vibrant – and this business, never more lively..  How can that be you say?


If you think the last few years have marginalized type-in traffic and you charted the flatline of type-in audience against the falling-yield and increasing effort it takes the SEO/SEM folks to leach traffic from search-engines you would be shocked!  Domain owners are all getting traffic for free via an unstoppable tide of human behavior, while Search Engine folks have to try exponentially harder to keep falling levels of traffic flowing. As a domainer you can tell the World about your best properties and there is no consequence to the audience. SEM/SEO folks can’t talk about their best sites, lest they get outed and shut down by the Search-engine overlord.  What kind of business is that?!


Every time a business card is passed or an email is sent or an ad is shown featuring a domain name, it reinforces to Internet users that the fastest path to a website is through the direct type-in. That user may go to google 99 times out of 100 for their search query but tomorrow will be the day that they try their search string with the .COM, just to see what’s there. I had 3million people have their hundredth day yesterday to sites on our network. Tomorrow will see 3 million more have their hundredth day.


If my frequent visits to the Googleplex have revealed anything to my untrained eye, it’s that Google has never been more committed to the domain name channel. We’ve worked with other monetization providers and paid-search marketplaces – and the level of efficacy Google has shown, the way they play the game today is just so many levels above the best effort we got from previous upstream partners. The innovations I see Google bringing – the sincerity, intelligence and seniority of the Googler’s managing this channel and the gravity of the positive changes coming to the domain-channel at Google, show me that this company not only intimately understands Domain Names and the paid search characteristics thereof, but they understand the needs of their partners.  They understand the echo system that facilitates the traffic and the subtle elements that drive the technical prosperity of the operators in this space.


In short domain name traffic monetization is very much alive and well at Google, but it is no longer cost effective for Google to manage those small domainer level relationships directly. There is plenty of healthy competition across the parking company Google-partner spectrum, and we at stand ready to serve former AFD publishers during this time of transition.


If you are one of the small publishers who is affected by this change – If you run a portfolio of clean names and you generate some material revenue from your names, there is no other domain parking company or sales platform – not a single one – where you would want to hang your shingle than right here with us at  The line forms to the left but moves quickly  ;)

This entry was posted by frankschilling on Wednesday, February 22nd, 2012 at 11:38 AM and is filed under Uncategorized. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Both comments and pings are currently closed.


  1. Mark says:

    Hi Frank,

    What is the approximate minimum level of traffic you look for to include a portfolio on your system?


    ***FS*** We don’t really have a minum but I’d say the low end would be partners generating $500 a month in revenues from pure type-in names.. That typically goes up to 700 or 750 here because we pay out well – but the idea is you’re running your portfolio professionally and above-board. Small guys with marginal accounts or lots of arb-traffic see huge chargebacks and clawbacks – and then there is the problem of little guys coming back and clicking their own links. Larger operators understand that is a road to Hell and so we protect our channel by only letting in pros and weeding out the gamers and arb folks.

  2. RH says:

    Nice post Frank, but I wonder if as you said “If my frequent visitos to the Googleplex have revealed anything to my untrained eye, it’s that Google has never been more committed to the domain name channel. We’ve worked with other monetization providers and paid-search marketplaces – and the level of efficacy Google has shown, the way they play the game today is just so many levels above the best effort we got from previous upstream partners. The innovations I see Google bringing – the sincerity, intelligence and seniority of the Googler’s managing this channel and the gravity of the positive changes coming to the domain-channel at Google, show me that this company not only intimately understands Domain Names and the paid search characteristics thereof, but they understand the needs of their partners. They understand the echo system that facilitates the traffic and the subtle elements that drive the technical prosperity of the operators in this space.”

    Why isn’t Google buying a ton of Domain portfolios and keeping all the traffic and keeping all the click revenue ?

    Thank you

    ***FS*** They get more economic benefit leasing. Look at all the shining skyscrapers in your nearest city. Most of those buildings are not owned by the tenants. The people who occupy those offices year after year focus on the business of making money at what they are good at.. and they let the landlord manage the building, change the lightbulbs etc. It’s the way the World works. Took me a long time as a guy with an “owner’s mindset” to get my head around that one.

  3. Lucas says:

    Frank, a really smart way to analyze things!
    It’s all logical and makes perfect sense.

    also, good question Mark!
    Now I have a tangible milestone to focus on :-)
    hope doors are still open by the time I hit it in 2020! jeje

  4. Dan says:

    Nice writeup Frank. Whats a arb folk?

    ***FS*** Thanks Dan.. I am referring to folks who generate traffic via SEO/SEM/Marketing/or arbitrage. Prfedominantly naked arbitrage though.

  5. Rick Schwartz says:

    Now that Google is seeing the difference between real traffic that really does convert and all the other garbage that has been mixed in with it to milk the cow, I think they see what we see and what the numbers prove. If I were Google I would rather deal with a handful of entities than 10,000 individual customers with NEEDS. ;-)

  6. john says:

    hi frank, what do you mean by this? can you clarify?

    I had 3million people have their hundredth day yesterday to sites on our network. Tomorrow will see 3 million more have their hundredth day.

    ***FS*** Hi John! A lot of people don’t understand the concept of type-in traffic, why it comes (and continues to come) when Google, Bing, Twitter and FB let you search and navigate just fine. 99 time out of 100 you, me other people will go straight to google/fb/t/bing and search.. but on the hundredth time of searching for the same subject matter and seeing more or less the same search-results, users get curious they start to venture out and the will type the search string they entered appending the string with .com, or .net or .org or the country code extension of the Country they are in – just to see what happens. This “hundredth visit” effect is what I was speaking to. We get 3 million people who do that every day.

  7. [...] Frank Schilling points out in this post, Google has never been more committed to direct traffic through domains than now. In his exact [...]

  8. domain guy says:

    alright the fall of type in traffic has continued for the last 4 yrs..I own several real estate domains and was getting over 1k types per month…today I get less than 100…the continued migration to google..
    the castellio bros verified that type in traffic is falling over 1 yr ago.
    In addition the people who should be on top of this the real estate agents have their heads in the sand..completely unaware of the sitution for the last decade…with 5 figure comissions on the line which really pisses me off…how can a person in the industry be so stupid…..after 10 yrs?…
    fs shilling owns, littletonhomes,…so fs is totally aware of the sitution….commets frank???

    ***FS*** No cheerleading, no BS, those names are flat. Not up not down just flat. The network is flat. If you have names that got traffic from sources other than type-in traffic (old links etc) then you could see those sources fall away and have it look like type ins are falling but that’s just not the case. We run a ton of type-in names and the old ones that are stable – are flat – not falling (knock on wood).

    If google was as commited to the domain channel as you state the one thing google could do is at the bottom of the paid search results on the right hand side …which is currently blank unused space not generating no revenue…google could have a spot catering to domains specifically…creating an algorhythem that matches the search string to the nearest domain for sale…its that simple…bing could do the same thing…thousands of phd engineers sitting around thinking of enhancing search and there it is..domain guy nails it..and I do not like giving away my ideas…the reason for the post is to show fs Imo google hurts all domainers…commet at will frank…

    ***FS*** Not to be cryptic – there are a lot of neat things I’ve seen that are coming. The innovations are coming and the channel is alive.

    as a folow up to something frank said 4 yrs ago…I want to know how with over 400k domains how did frank find the post out of the blue from financing masestro that the cost of mortgages on the wholesale level went up 3 points? fs owns the domain but that still leaves me stupidify…this one single post…nails the entire mortgage crisis…before it occured…how did a guy out on an island see this before everyone else saw it? what this one single post states is that frank is no ordinary human being…

    ***FS*** I am totally ordinary.. I just have the audacity to share exactly what I’m thinking even if it makes me look like an ass.. when I get it right I look like a genius, but can assure you that’s not the case ;)

  9. JS says:

    A 3 Millions a day, doesnt one start to think about launching its own ad network in parallel to working with the feeds providers? Theorical question as I am almost certain you wouldnt want the overhead and headaches of a “full” network.

    Also, do you guys get any money/premium for retargeting (retargeted clicks = simply higher EPC, but Im also thinking about the data sold to 3rd parties for retargeting on other properties) Apparently every parking Cos do it.

    ***FS*** 3mm a day while a stggeringly large number from an individual perspactive, is not earth-shattering in the grand scheme. From an add-network perspective you need hundreds of millions of daily visits to make a market.. We could bootstrap 3mm into something and we’re trying but google is a good partner for that.

  10. Rob says:

    We are less than 2 months into this year and already there is so much going on in the domain world. I’m glad I wasn’t using the AFD program, lots of people right now are probably scrambling to move their names.

    How is 2012 looking so far compared to 2011 for inquiries on your domain names?

    ***FS*** 2012 to date is genuinely strong

  11. waste says:

    What if you just want to change your short name from all lower case to capitalized? i.e. from john to John

  12. [...] domain registrar do you think is best overall” on the 7th annual Domain Name Wire survey. Google in-house AFD Goes Away – Monetization of TRAFFIC at GOOG more ALIVE than Ever – 22-Feb-12Frank Schilling: Google has shut down its in-house Domain channel. AFD direct [...]

  13. BrianWick says:

    @DomainGuy –
    Looks like my friend Roy Flanders has and where I own – you must have some kind of Denver connection based on your examples ::))
    But all use Frank’s InternetTraffic platform.

    Giving the user more than what they want – namely streams of wandering irrelevant BS text and images wrapped around a whored out adsense click – cheapens the whole experience – not to mention clutters up SEO and search in general – the underlining reasons for Google decision and I do not think they are done cutting more adsense type programs IMO.

    I am guilty in the past of trying to make my pages like or into something more than just PPC by using text and images – but that is not what the user wants. What the use wants when they type in, for example, is results just as if they typed in “Cheap Dresses” into the Google search bar – And that is what InternetTraffic provides – all the fluff eliminated – and the very reason Google respects the striped down Direct Navigation model.

  14. RK says:

    It always gives a optimistic feeling after reading Frank’s posts.
    I always look forward to the next blog post.

    It is great to know that new innovations are coming to the domains.

    Some of the things that can change the landscape for higher earnings can be as follows:

    - option for advertisers to sign up for displaying their ads directly on the parking page. Advertisers can click and sign up….this will create recurring monthly income streams.

    - Domain leasing option for advertisers managed by upstream providers or InternetTraffic, etc…..this will create recurring monthly income streams.

    - Upstream providers can even display domains for sale in goog/bing/FB/twitter, etc.

    - Each domain “automatically” developed in to a niche social site with targeted content from the likes of FB/GOOGpLUS/Twitter/Bing, etc. Remember that there are 100s of 1000s of niches and there are domains registered for every niche. But none of the likes of FB/GOOGpLUS/Twitter/Bing have un-limited real estate to display ads for all the niches. That’s where the targeted domains come in to picture and these big upstream providers can score big by utilizing domains are stand alone social networks for 1000s of niches. Any provider that takes the first step will win huge imo.

    Does anyone remember the patent wars of 2011 between various companies including google, remeber hwo every company paid large sums to acquire patents before it’s competitors can? I firmly believe once one of the like of FB/GOOGpLUS/Twitter/Bing moves big time in to domain space, the rest will then make the domain prices go pretty high.

    It is just a matter of time.

  15. Poor Uncle says:

    Frank, are you a poet?
    I love the way you write and speak.
    When my son has his son, I will suggest the name Frank.
    It is my second most favorite male name.

  16. Anunt says:

    My crystal ball says DOMAIN PARKING will be completely DEAD in two years!

    To clear this up, Domain names will NOT be dead, DOMAIN PARKING will be dead!

    If your domain parking income drops by 90% because of less type-in direct navigation traffic, will you still keep your domains parked…i don’t think so.

    With new gtlds coming, general public is going to be so confused and angry that when they don’t see a website and keep seeing a blank screen…that their natural response is going to be to run straight to google and just perform a search…resulting in 90% less direct type-ins.

    And if Google gets its own .google, then it’s definitely game over for direct type-ins and domain parking.

    They will make .google like an automatic search engine…when someone types in, it will automatically pop up top 5 related sites.

    Frank, you are correct…GOOGLE is smart.

    Google is the big winner here…do NOT buy domains for their parking income or for their traffic…buy domains only if they have development potential or you will end up holding an empty bag full of smoke!

    Frank, i see that you own with asking price $28k…i own the best … … you like domains Frank…well here, buy my for $100k which is 10 times better than your … so mine should be worth $280k correct…well here…take mine for only $100k…one day’s paycheck for you!

    Good Luck to ALL!!!

    ***FS*** Always nice to hear from you Anunt. I saw this comment when you first posted it under a different thread at Your Crystal ball is broken. As long as there is audience, there will be a marketplace to sell it. New tld’s will not immediately displace the audience coming to .com/.net/.org and CC tld of the Country you are in. The ship of human behavior will take a long time to turn. GOOG .MSFT and .FACEBOOK will not stop commerce on .SHOP,.WEB and .XXX and they certainly will not stop the audience from trying .COM names. The content remains on .COM. If you type the .GOOGLE and then see 5 sites featuring .COM names, you’ll try the .COM next time. As Slavik pointed out in another comment on this thread, collective audience is growing (albeit slower than search). People will navigate directly when they can.. it’s human nature. Let’s connect in 2 years .. i’ll even spot you an extra year if you like (call it 3 years) and let’s see how dead domain-parking is. Google will absolutely be a big winner with new tlds, but every owner of quality generic namess will be a winner as well. In my opinion, there are not enough good names in all existing AND new tlds to satiate future global demand. The global naming business is just in its infancy.

  17. JP says:

    there is no doubt that type in traffic is down
    a lot of it has moved over to mobile
    and mobile users are more likely to use google search vs typeing things in.

    chrome is having an effect no doubt.
    And the main factor was google toolbars for Firefox that made it easier to use google search vs address bar. It takes 3 clicks to type in the address bar, vs ONE click in google search box. Google clearly understands type in traffic and has from its early days. That also gave them an insight into how to reroute more of that traffic to themselves vs letting it go to a domain.

    ccTLDs and other TLDs are also having an effect on type in traffic to .coms.

    With that said, while large portion of individual domains are getting less traffic, overall volume is clearly up.

    ***FS*** Totally balls on accurate. The traffic is still there and it’s not off as much as it is hard to generate traffic elsewhere. Great comment Slav.

  18. JP says:

    if my math is right the “other” parking company is at 33m uniques a day ?
    doesnt mean they’re better, just pointing out the #s.

  19. Andy Booth says:

    Thanks for the post Frank. Sure some domain owners were starting to panic after Google pulled AFD… Always nice to be reassured that Google still values our traffic! Best to you!

  20. Uzoma says:


    There is an unusually pandering flavor in your article; I think you are sucking up to Google. What are you afraid of? We can’t allow this space to be a top down, elite dominated stream. If Google wants to get out of parking business, let them. What we should be doing is planning a life of business where Google can exit, and things will get better. If your model is to attract people making $500 a month parking, though I qualify, it leaves a lot of people out cold, yours is no solution. I’ve been tracking your posts to see exactly why you are exalted in this industry when all you try to do is create an aloof elite tier, I think everyone whose names are clean should be included in any solution. It’s up to you to design a system that will bring this about. Stop with your divisive elite bull.

    ***FS*** Thanks Uzoma. I’ve historically been pretty critical of Google. So my supporting vibe could leave you under the mistaken impression that “I’ve been bought”. The truth is that I’ve been to Google, I talked to some folks, I looked at what there doing – and based on that, I like what I see. That said I think your comment deserves a longer additional disclosure and some more color. In the old days I made most of my money selling traffic. Today, as the name market is much more mature, and paid search is less well-paid than in years past, I make more money selling names. We don’t sell many names, but we make a lot of money selling the ones we do sell. I am less beholden to Goog for revenues today than I was to previous search partners in the past, because today we control that revenue flow. The majority of it anyway. Our program isn’t as elite as you think. We’re taking small accounts and are not trying to be elitist or divisive. The trouble is that many smaller portfolios are filled with a large part of tm names and a smaller part clean names. We can’t take the IP risk so a lot of smaller guys get declined. The other problem is arbitrage. Traffic that is generated via marketing or keyword arbitrage (SEM and SEO) rather than via organic type-in based on the keyword weight or gravity of the name, frequently gets charged back by Google at some point in the future. So say you have a non-type in name like making $100 a day by buying $80 a day from a blind network or tier 3 search engine… three months go by and we pay you $9000 for the traffic you generated. Then google comes back and blocks the name because their advertisers indicate that some of your marketing wasn’t good quality. They charge back all of the revenue (all of it) even though you’ve been paid, and we get to chase you around the planet trying to get our $9000 back. I don’t want to do that. So we work with pros who understand the risks and who are okay with us charging them back. By it’s nature that excludes some of the hobbyists out there. I promise you this. I am working on some stuff that will be inclusive and elevate the fortunes of all in this space. We are not resting. We have some fresh ideas and if you are a quality operator who wants to do this long term we have room for you, regardless of whether you are huge or not.

  21. MB says:

    Frank, great to see you regularly blogging again…

    ***FS*** I love you bro – wish we lived close enough to hang out more

  22. This is a note to the website owner. Does your website get enough traffic or rank for keywords with Google? Well we can help! We can provide you with a safe tiered link building system! This will help your rankings on Google and make your website more visible to your target audience. Take a quick look as I am sure you will be interested.

    ***FS*** I get literally 300 of these a day and left this piece of spam to illustrate the alternative to generic names.. If type in traffic didn’t exist this is what we’d all be doing. Trying to seed BS links on others blogs to leech maybe a click a day.. What lousy life that would be. If you ever needed an example of how fortunate we all are to own generic domain names you need only walk a mile in the shoes of people who do this, and be grateful you’re not them.

  23. Nilkant says:

    I would like to respectfully cmeomnt on some of the things you said in this post. It seems to have stirred a lot of folks up, as it should. The present day Domain Name traffic business needs it’s version of “Sir George” to reach past Google and Yahoo, unlocking the value of our traffic. Shell wasn’t buying the oil, then because Getty contacted someone in authority, they starting buying it. Our traffic is already being bought even though prices are down (more on that shortly). It’s not nearly the same thing in my mind. A new purchaser of traffic might help things, but as it is, the market for selling traffic just got smaller with Microsoft taking over Yahoo’s search (for now). Increasingly the major keyword marketplaces such as Yahoo and Google have taken that high quality traffic and dumped it into the same keyword marketplace hopper with arbitrage, garbitrage, and other forms of toolbar crap. It is at least as good and often better in quality than Yahoo’s O&O search-box search and it has no place being dressed down and dumped in with other low quality forms of traffic. I don’t think you have talked to many that spend a lot of money advertising. You are right that many don’t know where their paid traffic is coming from, but I do.You seem to thing the domain traffic is high quality. Why? Perhaps if I had domains with no hyphens and less than 3 words I would understand. But part of the problem is that there are domain owners out there that commit click fraud and even conversion fraud. Are non-fraud arbitrage and toolbar searches a lower quality than typeins? I think not. The user is still looking for something despite the method they they arrive on your page and click on the ads. The problem is with FRAUD.As a domain owner (1,200+) and also an AdWords consultant, I see both sides of this situation, and I can tell you that high-profile keyword campaigns get hit hard with fraud. My estimate is 25%-40%, but with the growing amount of conversion fraud it’s hard to really pin it down. I can tell you that while I have seen some good conversions come in from parked domains, I have also see clear cases of fraud on a pretty large scale. education, shopping, sports, hobby, and pets domains getting clicks for legal services. Could it he honest? Sure, some could be thinking they are on a search engine . But not most of it, and most of the fraud is on domains registered to non-us owners. Big surprise there !Lest I just complain without offering a solution, it’s simple to me: Flat-rate advertising to replace bidding, or bid-for-flat rate . Sure our income may go down a little for a while, but as advertisers learn they can get more value for what they are paying, that should increase. My biggest client no longer advertising on the Google content network (now Display network). Too much fraud and no value. Man, I have been talking flat-rate so long I feel like Steve Forbes ! If there is a better solution to end fraud, let’s hear it. They can crush would-be competitors as they rise from the crib. No, I don’t think so. I can create my own parking page and have. All I need is some ads, a feed, an affilite offer, or to find advertisers. If you started some kind of service to place ads, do you think YOU would be crushed? Sure, we all hate you because you have so many damn domains, but we love you cuz you’re a good guy. You have NO IDEA how many would jump onboard for something you launched, was seriously involved in, or just approved of !

  24. Barat says:

    Frank why not go after microsoft hard. For one day Direct your tffirac to them all of it to and send out a press release Their servers will spike like crazy then watch the Jets roll into the Caymans with Paul Allen give you a double cheeked italian kiss ready to sign over a cheque to you . i will always maintain Microsoft will come a calling to you Frank And you will walk away with a couple of billion for your trouble. They already do it with Or Heck do a post on After redirecting your traffic. To the common man it seems like a day of lost revenue but of course you can always peg that in to the purchase Price. Funny enough I remember reading that yahoo AGAIN almost bought demand media. Instead they went after that piece of crap called associated Content. Tick Tock.. Google is going to can those guys soon. and we all know now that Demand isnt making that much profit – Phew good to have you back frank. Just did another 5 figure deal and just about to do another super monthly contract.. I was driving a taxi 2 yrs ago. Welcome Back.